Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Flavor battle: Dulce Delish v. Dulce de Leche

Ben & Jerry’s has a new flavor: Dulce Delish. But how does it match up against the popular
Häagen-Dazs flavor Dulce de Leche?

I was excited to do this comparison because I recently ate a dessert at a snazzy restaurant that featured legit dulce de leche: Carmelized plaintains in a crepe with cajeta and raspberry sauce. Somehow this fusion of flavors created a Dr. Pepper-esque sensation. So when I bought these flavors, I also bought some raspberry syrup.

Ben & Jerry’s Dulce Delish

  • More bitter
  • The dark caramel has a taste resembling cajeta, goat’s milk caramel
  • Much heavier
  • The raspberry syrup created flavor combat with the negatives of each flavor showing.

Häagen-Dazs Dulce de Leche
  • Sweeter
  • Caramel on caramel
  • Lighter
  • Raspberry syrup was good on the Häagen-Dazs. The flavors fused a little.
Conclusion: Ben & Jerry’s may offer the more unique flavor, but to me it was not enjoyable to eat. Go with the lighter Häagen-Dazs variety.

Monday, April 19, 2010

New Flavors: Ben & Jerry’s Class of 2010

Boston Cream Pie – I have mental list of flavors I would like to create in my home kitchen and an incarnation involving Boston cream has long been on the list. With the arrival of this excellent flavor, I can keep being lazy and just let Ben & Jerry’s do the work for me. The eggy custard ice cream base has pockets of yellow cake and doughy/custardy goodness. A teensy bit of chocolate chunks makes the flavor not as chocolate-y as an actual pie—a welcome surprise given that my typical complaint about Boston Cream Pie is that the custard is overpowered—but offers a perfect kiss of sweetness in the aftertaste. 

Milk & Cookies – The most distinguishing feature of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is the obnoxious amounts of junk it crams into its flavors. Every chunky bite of one of their pints should contain most, if not all, of the features mix-ins. This flavor is no exception, including hunks of cookies and not just Oreos—the flavor takes the long-overdue inclusion of actual chocolate chip cookie pieces to the ice cream instead of its more oft-used larval form, cookie dough. 

Peanut Brittle – I was right: it is better than the Häagen-Dazs variety. The main reason is the caramel swirl. Another reason is that the ice cream base is peanut brittle ice cream, which is sweeter that the Häagen-Dazs peanut butter base. Both support the idea that peanut brittle is foremost sweet and nutty second. However, the better idea would be a toffee-flavored ice cream since the solidified corn syrup that makes up the majority of brittle does not taste in any way like peanuts. The peanuts chunks, however, are more glazed, like what you might find in a Cracker Jack box, and less brittle. As a child of Virginia, the land of peanuts, I would know.

I cannot find Hannah Teter’s Maple Blondie (Maple Ice Cream with Blonde Brownie Chunks & a Maple Caramel Swirl) and am not interested in Mud Pie (Chocolate & Coffee Liqueur Ice Creams Swirled Together with a Chocolate Cookie Swirl). Dulce Delish will be reviewed next week alongside Häagen-Daz's Dulce De Leche.

UPDATE: Hannah Teter's Maple Blondie was finally found and reviewed!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

New Flavors: Häagen-Dazs Class of 2010

For some reason, no matter where I live, the grocery stores I frequent never carry ALL of the new ice cream flavors. I reeeeeeally want to try Midnight Cookies & Cream. I do not know if it has to do with regional sales patterns or if it is a dastardly plot of the gods to bring me misery. Enough whining, here are the reviews:
  • Amaretto Almond Crunch: I love almond for its roasted flavor and its texture. Neither of these are in the foreground of this flavor. But it’s still good! I normally don’t like amaretto, but I like this! Super-creamy and the brittle is much more like toffee with accents of nut than brittle. No brittle ice cream has even approximated the tastiness of the fallen Häagen-Dazs flavor, Macadamia Brittle. But this new one if good. Seriously.
  • The Five flavor series, which features ice cream that only uses five ingredients has a new flavor: Lemon. To me, lemon has always been better as a sorbet or Italian ice. This flavor, however, fights back. It isn’t just tart; it has a sour sting. Little pieces of lemon help bring variety to the texture, something most of the flavors in the Five series lack.
  • Dark Chocolate Mint: Häagen-Dazs has made some of the best chocolate ice creams to be found in the grocery store, but all of them have gone the way of the dodo. That is why last year’s Limited Edition flavor Dark Chocolate was so highly anticipated for a certain blogger. That flavor, like this one, left much to be desired. In both cases, I expected a richer flavor than what I tasted.
  • Last year’s Peanut Brittle makes a repeat showing. It didn’t wow me in 2009 because the peanut butter ice cream drowned out the sweetness of the brittle. Hopefully, Ben & Jerry’s new Peanut Brittle ice cream will be better.
  • As you can probably guess, I have no interest in trying the two banana flavors currently in the store (Split and Foster, if you’re curious).
I am VERY sorry to report that, from the looks of things, Häagen-Dazs has phased out it Reserve Series. Pints of ice cream are already a luxury product, so to offer a high end pint the failure was a fault of timing, not of product to be sure.

UPDATE: Midnight Cookies & Cream was finally found and reviewed!